(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Ten Wyoming toads will take their first hops into the wild this summer as part of ongoing conservation efforts by the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (CMZoo).

  • Wyoming toads to take 'first hops' into the wild
  • Wyoming toads to take 'first hops' into the wild

The ‘poster tadpoles’ of their endangered species, the Wyoming toad, morphed into toadlets within weeks after being introduced in July 2022.

At the end of July, CMZoo fans submitted naming ideas for the ten amphibian siblings. ‘The office’ at the Zoo theme was a big hit among fans who voted on the names Jim, Pam, Michael, Dwight, Stanley, Kelly, Phyllis, Angela, Oscar and Kevin. Since then, the toads have fine-tuned their hunting skills and are growing big and strong in the conservation center, according to CMZoo.

In the 90s, Wyoming toads were considered extinct in the wild, and only one population remained in human care. That population became the foundation for a breeding program in nine zoological and governmental facilities, including CMZoo. These facilities produced tadpoles and toadlets for reintroduction to the wild.

CMZoo’s conservation team has been committed to the recovery of Wyoming toads for 26 years. During this time, the conservation team has released 44,695 tadpoles and 1,510 toads into the wild. For the summer of 2023, these ten toads and hundreds of others born at CMZoo will take their first hops into the wild as part of this ongoing conservation effort.

“Each summer, we travel to the Laramie Basin, in Wyoming, to release toads and tadpoles to their wild native habitats,” said Jeff Baughman, Field Conservation Coordinator at CMZoo. “We also prepare toads for breeding in the summer, and we welcome new tadpoles to their tanks. It is a really exciting and busy time, but our winter efforts are also important.”

  • CMZoo's tiny toadlets have photo shoot to identify wart patterns
  • CMZoo's tiny toadlets have photo shoot to identify wart patterns
  • Courtesy of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
  • CMZoo's tiny toadlets have photo shoot to identify wart patterns

For the conservation team, winter and spring are all about growing healthy toads and preparing them for the next release. Additionally, educating and inspiring the public to care for toads is a year-round priority, says CMZoo.

Members and guests are making an impact to help toads and other species just by visiting the Zoo. Through CMZoo’s Quarters for Conservation program, 75¢ of every admission is dedicated to frontline conservation efforts like this. Guests can enjoy a day on the mountain with their favorite animals while supporting important programs dedicated to saving wildlife and wild places. Since 2008, when Q4C started, CMZoo’s guests and members have contributed more than $4 million to conservation projects worldwide.